Liverpool partners in first European Nano-Characterisation Laboratory

The University is part of an international partnership which has launched the first European Nanotechnology Characterisation Laboratory (EU-NCL).

The EU-NCL brings together nine organisations from eight different countries, including the US, to address one of the bottlenecks encountered by researchers in academia and industry who are developing nanotechnologies for medical use.

The EU-NCL will make it easier to develop nanotechnology-based innovations in healthcare by standardising international testing, protocols and requirements for the clinical evaluation and marketing of nanomedicines and providing access to researchers and industry that may not have access to the relevant expertise or technology.


Additionally, through close interaction with regulatory agencies throughout Europe, EUNCL will serve to inform on developments within the nanomedicine community as well as respond to new regulatory requirements.

It will provide comprehensive testing of the physical, chemical, in-vitro and in-vivo biological characteristics of new nanomedicine products. This will allow researchers to fully understand the effects of the products they have developed which will help with their submission to regulatory agencies prior to approval for clinical trials.

Nanomedicines – the formation of very small nanoparticles that improve the behaviour of drugs -have the potential to revolutionise global healthcare. They are already being used to treat a range of conditions including breast cancer, chronic pain and asthma.

Founding partner

Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, the EU-NCL will be accessible to all organisations developing candidate nanomedicines.

Dr Neill Liptrott, from the University’s Department of Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology in the Institute of Translational Medicine, said: “It is a great achievement for the University of Liverpool to be a founding partner in the formation of the EU-NCL which will draw on our international expertise in the analysis of the biocompatibility of nanomaterials”.

“The EU-NCL project is of most importance for the nanomedicine community, as it will contribute to the competiveness of nanomedicine products and tools and facilitate regulation in Europe.”

Improve treatments

Professor Andrew Owen, also from the University’s Department of Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology ,added “Nanomedicines are already used globally to improve the treatment and monitoring of patients suffering from a range of disorders. 

“Over the coming years, the benefits of nanomedicines will be felt by an increasing number of patients with considerable impact on global health. The international collaboration to establish this European infrastructure will keep Liverpool at the forefront of nanomedicine development”

The EU-NCL is also partnered with the sole international reference facility, the U.S. Nanotechnology Characterization Lab (U.S.NCL).

Approved nanotherapeutics

Scott E. McNeil, PhD, director of U.S. NCL, said: “We are excited to be part of this project that will be an example of mutual sharing between Europe and the U.S. We hope this collaboration will help to move towards harmonization of regulatory requirements for clinical evaluation and marketing authorization of nanomedicine. Together we will join forces to fight cancer and other major diseases with approved nanotherapeutics.”

The project is led by CEA-Tech in France and other partners are: the Joint Research Centre – European Commission (Italy); European Research Services GmbH (Germany); Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc. (U.S.);· Trinity College Dublin (Ireland); Stiftelsen SINTEF (Norway); · EMPA (Switzerland) and Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik Münster (GE).

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 654190.



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